Tom Woods interviews Joshua Smith on the libertarian capitalist vs libertarian socialist conflict in the Libertarian Party. Listen here.
Joshua Smith, who secured a spot on the Libertarian National Committee at the party’s recent convention, joins me to discuss the party’s present and future, the controversy with “libertarian socialists,” and much more.
By Andrew Sullivan
The politics of Britain and the U.S. can have a strange, synchronized rhythm to them. Margaret Thatcher was a harbinger of Ronald Reagan as both countries veered suddenly rightward in the 1980s. Prime Minister John Major emerged as Thatcher’s moderate successor as George H.W. Bush became Reagan’s, cementing the conservative trans-Atlantic shift. The “New Democrats” and the Clintons were then mirrored by “New Labour” and the Blairs, adapting the policies of the center-left to the emerging consensus of market capitalism. Even Barack Obama and David Cameron were not too dissimilar — social liberals, unflappable pragmatists — until the legacies of both were swept aside by right-populist revolts. The sudden summer squall of Brexit in 2016 and the triumph of Trump a few months later revealed how similarly the Tories and the Republicans had drifted into nationalist, isolationist fantasies.
But what of the parallels on the left? What’s generating activist energy and intellectual ferment in both countries is an increasingly disinhibited and ambitious socialism. Bernie Sanders’s strength in the Democratic Party primaries two years ago was a prelude to a new wave of candidates who’ve struck unabashedly left-populist notes this year, calling for “Medicare for all” and the end of ICE, alongside a more social-justice-oriented cultural message. Some, like the charismatic Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, have achieved national visibility as an uncomplicated socialism has found more converts, especially among the young. Moderate Democrats have not disappeared, but they are on the defensive. A fight really is brewing for the soul of the Democrats.
By Nicky Reid aka Comrade Hermit
Exile in Happy Valley
The scene was apocalyptic, like something out of a George Romero movie gone horribly wrong. Tiny bodies littered the shattered concrete, stained pitch black with soot and blood. Some of them were as still and stiff as calcified ventriloquist dummies, breathing nothing but smoke. Some of them rived in agony, mangled limbs throbbing and kicking, eyes rolled back in their battered little skulls as they screamed in agony to an indifferent god. The landscape that surrounds them is a bleak, smoldering, landfill overpopulated by a seemingly random collection of twisted metal and charred body parts; Arms, legs, heads, jagged fragments of bones and bubbling molten globs of shredded viscera, and every here and there a haunting sign of the casualties battered innocence; A doll with a heat warped plastic face, the busted half of a pink plastic lunchbox, and at the center of it all, a boy no older than 7, sitting upright, covered in his playmates blood, with an oversized UN-blue backpack still strapped to his bony shoulders, staring a thousand yards into an abyss that no one that young should ever see. They were children. They were all just children. And they were obliterated by an American bomb.
This was the latest chapter in the endless horror story called the Yemen Civil War. But it’s not a civil war. A civil war requires two sides on the same playing field. Whats going on in Yemen ceased to be a war at all long ago. This is a slaughter, a genocide, a holocaust. It’s latest victims were children on a school bus, coming home from a picnic, miles away from anything resembling a military installation. Over 40 dead, scores injured, many if not most of them under 10. This was a deliberate act of terrorism perpetrated by our “allie” Saudi Arabia with the full aid and support of these fine United States. We supplied the weapons. We fueled the planes. We provided the precise logistics that told our proxies exactly who they were murdering. We did everything but pull the goddamn trigger. And as usual nobody in this timezone or the next could be bothered to really give a shit.
At this point, the Alt-Right is just the latest wave of “far right” loser groups in the tradition of the Klan and neo-Nazi groups from the 1980s as one of the antifa’s leading “intellectuals” admits. In the less than 10 years since it began, the Alt-Right has degenerated from a high-brow intellectual movement oriented toward meta-politics and influenced by thinkers such as Alain De Benoist, to becoming a retrograde 1920s style white nationalist movement, to becoming a collection of Internet trolls and Alex Jones-wannabes, to becoming a reworking of 1980s neo-Nazism.
The Alt-Right is dead, not so much through either public opposition or system cooptation, as much as through internal incompetence. For instance, the Antifa counter actions against the Alt-Right are largely the one thing that continues to legitimize the Alt-Right in the eyes of the Alt-Right’s own adherents by simply making Alt-Rightists think they are more important than they actually are.
In reality, far from serving as a genuine counter force to the “far right” the Antifa-types would be faced with a literal massacre in a genuine showdown with, shall we say, “hard men” (which the Alt-Right are not). And far from coopting the Alt-Right, the Trump presidency has actually marginalized the Alt-Right by seemingly giving a voice to those with overlapping issues (such as immigration opponents) but who do not wish to be associated with the Alt-Right’s extremism. Strategically, it would have been in the Alt-Right’s best interests to vote for Hillary Clinton, not Donald Trump.
The story of the Alt-Right is a case study in how NOT to build a revolutionary or radical oppositional movement.
By Joe Seyton
“I really think we should just ignore them,” counterprotester Glen Hellman told Reason outside the Vienna Metro station this morning, where Unite the Right II rally participants boarded a subway headed into downtown D.C. “We’re validating them, and that is a problem,” he added, describing himself as “torn” over whether to ignore the rally or protest it.
As expected, it was a chaotic scene outside the White House on this rainy Sunday, as white nationalists staged a rally in the nation’s capital.
This article makes a point that I have long made, i.e. that the political Left is shooting itself in the ass by pushing the most extreme and fanatical forms of identity politics and cultural leftism on the conventional working to middle classes, and driving “normies” as well as a lot of disaffected people to the Right.
The last two sentences of this article are also the money quote:
“Democrats have a great chance at winning the midterm elections this November. The way to success, however, is by nominating candidates who fit the political, cultural, and economic characteristics of the districts they are running in, not by insisting that the entire country is ready to stampede to the left.”
By Daniel R. Depetris
The American Conservative
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the new poster child for the progressive movement, who shocked the nation by clobbering a 10-term incumbent in her New York-area district Democratic primary, has been a woman on a mission. While she is still technically one of hundreds of congressional candidate who need to run and win in November, Ocasio-Cortez has lately spent more time on the trail for progressives in other parts of the country.
While the 28-year-old political newcomer insists she isn’t the spokesman of the Democratic Party’s ascendant grassroots progressive wing, she has acted as though she is. Congressional candidates usually don’t endorse insurgents against establishment Democrats; after all, who wants to ruffle the establishment’s feathers when you have to work them if the voters send you to Washington? Yet Ocasio-Cortez has been crazy enough to do just that, backing challengers to sitting Democratic incumbents in Florida, Massachusetts, Delaware, and Maryland.
Endorsing is one thing, but getting your endorsements across the finish line is very different. The former is painless; the latter impossible if registered Democrats are uncomfortable with the candidate or message. Ocasio-Cortez and her mentor Senator Bernie Sanders learned this the hard way during this week’s volley of Democratic primaries. The progressives and Democratic Socialists may be loud and fired up, but they haven’t yet had much success at winning against the establishment wing of their party.
The liberal ruling classes circle the wages against revolts by the reactionary peasantry. Shades of the 19th century.
By Paul Gottfried
The American Conservative
For several months, an alliance has been forming between the neoconservative American Enterprise Institute (AEI) and the neoliberal Center for American Progress (CAP). It’s the sort of kumbaya not witnessed since wartime Washington a decade ago.
A press release from CAP on May 10 blares: “CAP and AEI Team up to Defend Democracy and Transatlantic Partnership.” The same joyous tidings accompanied a public statement issued by AEI on July 31, which stressed that the alliance was meant to resist “the populist assault on the transatlantic community” for the purpose of “defending democracy.”
Although, according to Vikram Singh, a senior fellow at CAP, the two partners “often disagree on important policy questions,” they have been driven together “at a time when the character of our societies is at stake.” This burgeoning cooperation underscores that “our commitment to democracy and core democratic principles is stronger than ever.” Since both documents fling around the terms “democracy” and “liberal democracy” to justify a meddlesome foreign policy, we may safely assume that the neocons are behind this project. Neocons for some time now have prefixed their intended aggressions with “democracy” and “liberal democracy” the way the Spanish and Austrian Habsburgs during the 16th and 17th centuries stuck the word “holy” into the names of their wartime alliances. Closer to our time, communist governments favored the use of “people’s democracy” to indicate that they were the good guys. Presumably the neocons have now picked up this habit of nomenclature.
An excellent piece of class/caste analysis from a Marxist/Maoist perspective. This is more or less what I have been saying for decades. Genuine Communists are always so refreshing when compared with the usual SJW/Antifa/IDPol/weenie Leftist types.
Maoist Rebel News
Editor: The following is a post that was written by someone I know who wishes to remain anonymous. We will call him “Comrade M”. It seeks to ask questions regarding NEETS, incels, “forever alones” and the like. Can we consider them a new group of undesirables? What is their relationship to the class structure of the first world?
In the 1800’s, Karl Marx’s ideas were groundbreaking. Even more so than laying the foundations for scientific socialism, Karl Marx described the inner machinations of the capitalist system on both the sociological and economic level better than any previous economist, philosopher or social-scientist.
Even though Marx’s ideas were correct for his day, he lived in a rapidly changing global society. By the time of the Bolshevik revolution, the world had already changed in many ways. So Lenin and the Bolsheviks came along, and devised Marxism-Leninism. They “updated” Marxism, both to be current with the times, and also to encompass the collective experiences of the international communist movement since Marx and Engels passed away. At the time, the majority of the Communist movement belonged to a revisionist grouping called the “2nd international”, which upheld a generally revisionist, chauvinist line. The 2nd Internationale advocated for both social-imperialism and “evolutionary” socialism, or “social-democracy” which would become another stagnant neo-liberal trend in the modern day. At their worst, the 2nd international went as far as to defend the atrocity of Colonialism, eg, in the case of the old Workers Party of Belgium, which proposed the nationalization of land, resources, and people of the Congo for the benefit of the European Proletariat.
Introducing our newest contributor at ATS.
By Nicky Reid aka Comrade Hermit
Exile in Happy Valley
Most of you know me as Comrade Hermit, muckraking shut-in extraordinaire, but my slave name, my name in the straight world, the one on my birth certificate, is Nicholas Adam Reid. Growing up, most people called me Nick and for the most part that was never really a problem. Being a fluid dyke like me is tricky because there are no Barbie dolls or frilly dresses to tip you off that I’m trans. For a long time even I didn’t know. There were no people on TV that looked the way I felt so I just figured that I was a freak and that became my identity- Nick the Freak.
And in many respects I am a freak and I take great pride in that. I’m a Rothbardian-Freudo-Groucho-Marxist-Syndicalist with a library that includes everything from Che Guevara to Ernst Junger. I’m a sado-masochist power bottom with a fetish for quite literally everything. I’m a politically incorrect sex-positive transfeminist who loves nothing better than shouting theater in a crowded fire. I’ve never owned a cellphone. I’ll never own a credit card. I hate social media with a passion leftists usually reserve for Kulaks. And I’ve never eaten a green vegetable. I also have an odd affection for gangsters, outlaws, serial killers, revolutionaries of every stripe, and histories misunderstood super-villains in general. I’m a freak alright. I live for the fringe. Society is just a classy word for totalitarianism and I wan’t nothing to do with it. But my gender identity has nothing to do with my freakdom. I didn’t choose to be a mostly female butch lesbian in a mountain man’s body. Believe me, I’ve tried not to be. I’ve tried to be male. I’ve tried to be female. Both fit me like a leash. I am who I am and Nick just doesn’t feel like an accurate label for that anymore.
It is interesting to see a quote from Emma Goldman in an article originally published in Forbes in 2012.
By Lawrence Hunter
Elections are a fraud. If you go to the polls, you are wasting your time, or worse, deluding yourself that you are actually making a difference.
From this, it follows that if you are making campaign contributions or donating to front groups who spend your money on behalf of candidates, you’re wasting your money, or worse, diverting your resources away from political action that actually could make a difference. There’s more to political life than elections although you wouldn’t know it from Karl Rove’s brave new world of perpetual campaigns.
Take it from someone who worked as a Republican apparatchik for many years inside the Washington machine, the American political system is an exercise in mass deception and mass delusion. Elections stupefy the people and give political cover to what Will Rogers called “America’s only native criminal class” (viz., Members of Congress) to commit all manner of felonies in the name of the public interest.
By Daniel Larison
The American Conservative
Kareem Fahim investigates the war on Yemen’s weirdly static official death toll of 10,000 casualties and finds that it is certainly much higher:
The overall death toll may have reached alarming levels, according to one independent tally. Data collected by ACLED, a group that studies conflicts, puts the death toll at nearly 50,000 people in the period between January 2016 and late July 2018.
That number includes combatants but excludes people not directly killed during the fighting — thousands of civilians who have died of malnutrition or cholera, for instance. Last year, Save the Children estimated that 130 children were dying every day because of “extreme hunger and disease.”
China’s ambassador to Damascus has reportedly told Syrian media that Beijing is prepared to aid the government’s push to retake territory throughout the country.
Speaking to Syrian pro-government daily Al-Watan, the envoy, Qi Qianjin, expressed China’s support for what he referred to as Syria’s war against terrorists, according to a dispatch from the Middle East Media Research Institute.
stability of our countries. We – China and its military – wish to develop our relations with the Syrian Army. As for participating in the Idlib operation, it requires a political decision.’ He denied that there were military advisers or special Chinese forces in Syria today.”
By Bernard Avishai
New York Review of Books
“The two-state solution is over,” Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat told reporters, responding to Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. “Now is the time to transform the struggle for one state with equal rights for everyone living in historic Palestine, from the river to the sea.” As The New York Times subsequently reported, Erekat is hardly alone. The “over”-ness of “two states”—albeit with radical disagreements about the character of a hypothetical single state—has been claimed by ideological zealots, severe liberals, and exasperated peacemakers alike.
On the Palestinian side, one hears about the almost 700,000 Israeli settlers’ making annexation an established fact; on the Israeli side, about preventing recalcitrant Palestinian terrorists from firing missiles at Ben-Gurion Airport. For those of us living in Jerusalem, just speaking of two states, implying two capitals—but also, vaguely, some redivision of the city—invites skeptical, or pitying, stares from most Jews, as well as from Arabs, over a thousand of whom applied for Israeli citizenship in 2016.
By Paul Gottfried
We’re approaching the one-year anniversary of the fateful Unite The Right Rally, at which the violence that took place was all blamed on the “Alt-Right”, leading to much persecution (deplatforming, firings, conferences cancelled) of people identified with that movement. It’s been said repeatedly that the Alt Right is dead or dying—but it can’t be, if Conservatism, Inc is still trying to kill it.
It seems that Jonah Goldberg has time left over from beating up on Trump and refurbishing his credentials as a leading “conservative” Never-Trumper to hobnob with House Speaker Paul Ryan at Jonah’s stamping grounds, AEI. The two of them agreed recently that the “Alt-Right is about “identity politics.” In what appears to be a mutual congratulation session, the interlocutors proclaimed that “conservatives must reclaim “hijacked” terminology.”
The reason China is in Africa is simple; to exploit the people and take their resources. It’s the same thing European colonists did during mercantile times, except worse. The corporations owned by the Chinese state are trying to turn Africa into another Chinese continent. They are squeezing Africa for everything it is worth.
This is the view several African politicians have. The Zambian politician Michael Sata was one of them. At least he was before being elected President of Zambia in 2011. He wrote a paper presented to Harvard University in 2007 that said “European colonial exploitation in comparison to Chinese exploitation appears benign, because even though the commercial exploitation was just as bad, the colonial agents also invested in social and economic infrastructure services Chinese investment, on the other hand, is focused on taking out of Africa as much as can be taken out, without any regard to the welfare of the local people.”
By Tyler Cowen
So what would the decline of America look like? I don’t ask the question because I think it’s happening (yet?), but because even the most inveterate optimist should be interested in the dangers, if only to ward them off.
Here’s the cleanest tale of hypothetical decline I could come up with, keeping away from the more partisan or hysterical scenarios, or those involving a catastrophic deus ex machina.
Imagine that the United States gets through the presidency of Donald Trump without a crippling constitutional crisis. Still, the shrill public debate — which will continue well past Trump’s time in office — will continue to prove unequal to the task of addressing the nation’s most pressing problems.
In recent years, the underlying rate of productivity growth often has been about 1 percent, and rates of economic growth are not even half of what they used to be. Meanwhile, America will have to increase taxes or reduce spending by about $2,200 per taxpayer per year to keep the national debt-to-GDP ratio from rising ever higher, and that figure predates the Trump tax cuts. To fund that shortfall, the U.S. will cut back on infrastructure maintenance. At least one-third of this country will end up looking like — forgive the colloquial phrase — “a dump.” The racial wealth gap will not be narrowed.
By Daniel Larison
The American Conservative
Alex Emmons reports that the Saudis and their allies intended to invade and take over Qatar last year, but pressure from Tillerson prevented this from happening:
The Intercept has learned of a previously unreported episode that stoked the UAE and Saudi Arabia’s anger at Tillerson and that may have played a key role in his removal. In the summer of 2017, several months before the Gulf allies started pushing for his ouster, Tillerson intervened to stop a secret Saudi-led, UAE-backed plan to invade and essentially conquer Qatar, according to one current member of the U.S. intelligence community and two former State Department officials, all of whom declined to be named, citing the sensitivity of the matter.
If this report is correct, it confirms that the Saudis and Emiratis are even more reckless than we already knew them to be.
My latest interview with Tasnim.
TEHRAN (Tasnim) – An American political analyst said an initiative by the US administration to develop an alliance with the Persian Gulf and Arab allies is expected to fail as there are sharp disagreements between the member states of the Persian Gulf Cooperation Council on Iran.
“The prospects for the formation of a Middle Eastern Strategic Alliance are hindered by multiple obstacles. There are sharp disagreements between the member states of the (Persian) Gulf Cooperation Council on Iran,” Keith Preston, the chief editor and director of attackthesystem.com, told Tasnim.
He added, “It is unlikely that the proposed member nations of a Middle Eastern Strategic Alliance will find that they share enough common interests and common objectives to make such an alliance viable”.
The following is the full text of the interview.
A must listen. How the supposed “Resistance” obscures US-Saudi genocide in Yemen.
By Keith Preston
Everyone knows that one of the principal grievances of the right-wing involves the substantial amount of immigration from Latin America to the United States that has taken place in recent decades. The commonly voiced concern is that the traditional “white” (Northern European) majority will lose its majority status, and that persons of Latin American ancestry (combined with people of color generally) will become the demographic majority. Whether this is good or bad is an individual value judgment, but the criticisms often obscure other, perhaps more substantive ways in which the United States is coming to resemble Latin America.
The traditional class system of Latin America is one where the very rich plutocratic elites live in opulence and luxury, and rule over an impoverished working class, an extraordinarily large underclass of the extreme poor and permanently unemployed, and a small middle class of professionals and technocrats. This is precisely the same kind of class system that the United States is developing, particularly in California which is widely considered to be the bellwether of the nation.
In traditional Latin American societies, the elite rule for the sake of pursing their own class interests, without any pretense of interest in the needs of the masses. To the degree that elections are held at all, the candidates are merely functionaries of the plutocracy. US politics is rapidly coming to resemble this model.
The police and the army are the traditionally dominant force in Latin American societies, and there can be no reasonable doubt that the military industrial complex and police state have assumed a comparable role in the United States.
The one noticeable difference is that in many traditional Latin American societies, the Catholic Church hierarchy provided the ruling class with its self-legitimating ideology. In the United States, organized religion is becoming an increasingly marginal force with the new self-legitimating ideology of the state being the totalitarian humanist ideology of the new clerisy.
Interestingly, Latin America has experienced a great deal of liberalization and progress in the past few decades, while the United States has increasingly gone backward. Perhaps Americans need to start emigrating to Latin America.
A Facebook friend sums up why “the libertarian moment” passed with a succinct critique of conventional libertarianism (and I would include virtually the entire anarchist and anti-state milieu in this as well).
“The Libertarian Party is utterly useless. It may have once had some utility as a ‘forum’, but for a long time it’s been a scam to get donors to support the wonkery and time-wasting of party bureaucrats. The Tom Woods show has accomplished more than the LP ever has. The similar (though Republican-branded) Ron Paul Presidential runs are about the same thing. Millions of dollars blown to accomplish ‘outreach’? Most of the people it reached have apparently become SJWs, Bernouts or Trumpkins, anyway. Which just goes to show you that the problem isn’t ignorance, oppression, or government schools. The problem is that normal people are dumb, herdish, gullible, and just not libertarian. This is largely genetic, and also a product of enormous social inertias that are not subject to rational disputation. I generally think most ‘activism’ is a waste of time, especially if it’s activism for anything that makes sense: people have deep-seated, sub-rational reasons for rejecting this stuff.
“But I used to be a Nazi-Communist until I saw the Ron Paul campaign!” someone will say. Anecdotal stuff like this does not move me. Most people who call themselves ‘libertarians’ are useless, and still cowardly middle-classers who don’t dare actually break the law or approve of violence against the police. The Crips do more to actually subvert the law than most ‘libertarians’, because they’re not fat sissies. It’s not just that they’re afraid to declare Jihad on Washington and start selling meth out of their pickup truck, it’s that they’re afraid to even say that this is okay and maybe, just maybe, American soldiers who invade foreign countries deserve to die. This bourgoisie fetish for not offending people and being ‘respectable’ is a disease of the entire culture. This is one reason I’m not as big a fan of the middle class as the PaleoLib, types. They’re the people who gave us the nation-state and the state churches. You may think it is impractical to take on the FBI with your semi-automatic AR15. Fair enough. But the instinctive, herd-like fear of even acknowledging that the FBI would have it coming, tactical efficacy aside, is why American libertarians are weak sauce. I have much more respect for the Sovereign Citizens. I have more respect for the Shining Path and the Mafia than I do for the LP. They might be Commie lunatics and gangsters, but at least they’re not fat pussies begging their slave master for better food.